Host Phil Boyum welcomed former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel Friday to the "Mornings unPHILtered" show. Handel recently resigned her office to run for the governor's seat and was in Statesboro to attend the Bulloch County Republican Party meeting at R.J.'s Restaurant on Thursday night.
Running for the Republican nomination for governor are seven different candidates. They include two Georgia state senators, a House member, a former Georgia secretary of state, the current insurance commissioner and a U.S. congressman.
Handel said in addition to being a life-long Republican, and not a recent convert, she is not a member of the political status quo. She shared her business experience, which she said would make her perfectly qualified to handle the many business challenges that will face the next governor.
Handel also said many of the candidates have had long political careers, and have had chances to deal with some of the issues facing the state today. She asked Boyum why anyone would think they would handle the situation any differently than they had before.
Handel said government doesn't create jobs, but rather should ensure the state has sound economic and fiscal policies, which will aid in the creation of more jobs. Handel said that as governor she would focus first on the needs of the small businesses in the state.
She said property tax reform hasn't been reviewed, much less changed, in 30 years. By bringing down some tax rates, and exploring the possibility of using tax dollars to pay for other items, the burden of the state's citizens and businesses might be greatly lessened.
Georgia has some of the best research institutions in the world, and Handel said she would love to help some of the ideas and products created at these institutions come into fruition right here in our state instead of being taken somewhere else for production.
Boyum asked her about how money from southern Georgia goes up to Atlanta and seemingly rarely makes its way back down to southern or coastal Georgia. Handel said she believes in local governments being able to control how their taxes are spent and where the money actually goes.
Transportation needs are very important to rural Georgians. Handel said the makeup of the Regional Transportation Board must represent all of the areas in Georgia and not just metropolitan areas. The communities across Georgia must be prepared for the demands on their infrastructure.
By developing the ports, and rebuilding our railroads, which used to bring people and products to small towns throughout the state, Handel said those commercial ventures in areas that lost those businesses to the major metropolitan areas could possibly experience an economic rebirth.
Changing topics to education, Boyum asked Handel about Georgia's ranking at or near the bottom when it comes to academic achievement. In response, Handel stated that improving our school's performances require many changes.
Handel said that, personally, she would like to see the way our teachers are perceived be changed to represent the importance of the role they play in preparing our children for their roles in tomorrow's society. Handel continued that overall teacher compensation packages must be examined.
Testing has a role in education, Handel agreed, but it is not why kids attend school. Handel said scores such as SAT's are important, but declared that numbers can be manipulated so that they really don't tell the real picture. Issues such as dropout rates, parental involvement, and offering more relevant courses must be addressed.
Handel stated that K-third grade classes are now receiving more focus as where students must be taught the basics they will be called upon to use in middle and high school. Handel said she believes that in addition to developing social skills, elementary school children today are, by and large, ready for technological instruction.
"Mornings unPHILtered" airs live Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on statesboroherald.com and also simulcast on WWNS-AM 1240 on the radio. You also can listen anytime at BoroLive.com on statesboroherald.com